Integro Yamaha got their 2018 Dickies British Supersport championship campaign underway at Donington Park over the Easter weekend.
Dubliner Jack Kennedy started the season in the best possible way by claiming the first pole position of the year, whereas youngster Brad Jones finished his first Supersport qualifying session just 0.001 of a second off of the front row in fourth.
Sunday evening’s sprint race was held in dry conditions despite the threat of rain forcing the race to be declared wet. As a result, Jones opted for a wet front tyre but the rain never materialised; forcing him to sadly retire part way through his debut race.
Meanwhile, Kennedy was embroiled in a battle for the lead with Australian Ben Currie. The pair both took turns at leading the race and set such a pace that they were over ten seconds clear of third place. As they entered the last lap, Kennedy was at the front but he narrowly missed out on an opening win, when Currie dived through at the Foggy Esses.
Easter Monday brought torrential rain overnight but through the day the rain eased and the track started to slowly dry. The Supersport race got underway in mixed conditions, with a dry line starting to appear. Kennedy opted for an intermediate rear tyre, whilst Jones went for a full wet option from 21st on the grid.
Currie immediately took the lead from the first lap and started to open out an insurmountable lead. Despite Kennedy’s best efforts, the Dubliner had to settle for second place once again, rounding off a double podium at the season opener.
Jones had a lot of work to do from 21st on the grid, especially given the conditions, but rode maturely and expertly through to 12th place to collect his first points in the championship.
Heading to Brands Hatch in a fortnight’s time, Kennedy sits second in the championship with 40 points, 10 points adrift of the early championship leader.
Jack Kennedy: “It’s good for our championship chase – two second places and some good points on the board especially with the very tricky conditions all weekend. I would’ve preferred a dry race on Monday to see if the improvements we worked on the Integro Yamaha overnight had worked. We took a gamble with an intermediate rear tyre and it just never came to us. Good start to the year, hopefully pick up two wins rather than two seconds at Brands Hatch.”
Brad Jones: “Overall there are many positives to take from this weekend. My pace in the dry is good and I was pleased to qualify fourth on Sunday. It’s frustrating to make the wrong tyre choice in race one causing me to pull out, which also gave me a poor grid position for race two.
“A tough race battling to 12th in dodgy conditions but we’ve come away with some points and all in one piece. Looking forward to round two where we can hopefully have a strong weekend. Most importantly I feel good on the bike and the team are doing a great job.”